While petrol prices go up by Rs 3.73 per litre, diesel has been hiked by Rs 2 per litre. LPG also goes up by Rs 35 per cylinder. Kerosene prices, however, will not be market-driven, say sources. The decision follows a ministerial panel meeting on freeing up petrol prices and cutting subsidies on diesel, kerosene and cooking gas, to help rein in the 'fiscal deficit', which is projected at 5.5 percent of the gross domestic product in 2010/11 and free up revenues for other programmes.
Oil minister Murli Deora said, "the move will help boost profits of state-run oil firms that have been losing revenue from government-set lower prices."
In Kolkata, CITU state president Shyamal Chakraborty, described Trinamool Congress chief and Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee's opposition to the price hike as a 'political bluff'. "To bluff the people in the state, she has not attended the meeting of the Empowered Group of Ministers, which took the decision.
IANS, Kolkata, 25 June : A Karachi-bound explosive-laden vessel from the Chittagong port was intercepted by the security agencies on the Hooghly river channel at Diamond Harbour on Friday evening, officials said.
The vessel - 'Agean Glory' and registered in St. Vincent, Liberia - did not have the necessary clearances for carrying explosives, Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) sources said. "When we checked the papers, we found the vessel had not provided the mandatory declarations for carrying explosives to the Kolkata Port Trust (KoPT) and Customs officials," Coast Guard Commandant (West Bengal) Murugan told IANS.
State Director General of Police Bhupinder Singh said the intercepted vessel was carrying 551 metric tonnes of military cargo. "The consignment was meant for a major-ranked defence personnel in Karachi. Investigation is on to ascertain where from the explosives were loaded." The Coast Guard, Navy, customs and the CISF personnel were aboard the vessel interrogating the crew.
Kolkata, 25 June : The CITU has called a 24-hour transport strike in West Bengal tomorrow to protest against the Centre's decision to hike the prices of petrol, diesel, kerosene and cooking gas.
"All transport, including goods and passenger vehicles, will go on strike state-wide tomorrow in protest against the Centre's decision to increase the prices of petroleum products," CITU state president Shyamal Chakraborty told reporters here. He said that trains will run and essential services will be kept outside the purview of the strike.
IANS, New Delhi, 25 June : Indian Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee Friday said she was not "happy" with the fuel price hike as it puts pressure on the common man, but her Trinamool Congres would not withdraw from the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government.
"My party does not support this hike. This puts all the pressure on the people. Government should reconsider the decision to increase the price of diesel, kerosene and LPG," she told reporters here.
Dhaka, 25 June : Bangladesh government has announced higher allowance for 125,000 people who participated in the country’s freedom movement against Pakistan in 1971.
The amount is being raised from Taka 1,500 ($21.50) to Taka 2,000 from 1 July, beginning of the next fiscal, State Minister for Liberation War Affairs Captain (retd) A.B. Tajul Islam told parliament Thursday. The state minister said the number of freedom fighters across the country is 125,000, including 5,338 who were injured, The Daily Star reported. Families of martyred freedom fighters are 2,500 and women freedom fighters number 162.
Midnapore, 25 June : Another person was arrested from West Midnapore district in connection with the Gyaneswari Express disaster based on the statement of key accused Bapi Mahto, currently in CBI custody.
Abid Ali, a resident of Manikpara in Jhargram subdivision, was arrested from Kaliakunda last night, police said. Ali's link with Maoists was being ascertained, they said. He is the eighth person to be arrested for the 28 May disaster that claimed 148 lives.
Two months ago, during their meeting with prime minister Manmohan Singh and Planning commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia, chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and Minister for commerce Nirupam Sen, demanded money separately for the development of LWE areas.
Agartala, 25 June : Ten more Bangladeshi-trained Tripura terrorists have surrendered to the Indian troopers after the security forces of that country continued their crackdown against militants from northeast India, officials said here.
The 10 National Liberation Front of Tripura (NLFT) militants escaped from their camps in different places of Bangladesh and crossed over to India before they surrendered to the Border Security Force (BSF) and Assam Rifles troopers in different places of Tripura during the past 24-hours, a police spokesman said.
Howrah, 25 June : Passengers of the Howrah-Mumbai Duronto Express had a narrow escape today when its engine and generator van got separated from the rest of the train.
There was no report of any injury to any passenger. The central buffer coupling (CBC) that attaches the coaches and the engine along with the front generator van snapped about 37 minutes after the non-stop train started from Howrah for Mumbai, South Eastern Railway sources said. The coaches then travelled for a brief period before automatic brakes were applied and came to a halt at Uluberia station.
PTI, Bankura, 25 June : The parents of a local CPI(M) leader were charred to death after his house was set on fire by suspected Maoists in Bankura district today, police said.
The incident happened at Bagdubi village when suspected Maoists set on fire the house of CPI(M) zonal committee member Nabin Hembram, police said. While Hembram managed to flee, his 85 year-old father and 65-year-old mother were charred to death, they said, adding that the house was completely gutted.
Dhaka, 25 June : Ittefaq, one of the oldest daily newspapers of Bangladesh, has started publishing from its new offices at Jatrabari's Kajla.
The Bengali daily is set to hit the stands with its new printer's line with an address of Kajlar Paar, Demra Road, Dhaka-1205 from Friday. Distinguished for its voluminous classified section, the hugely successful daily will maintain commercial offices at 40 Karwan Bazar and another one in Motijheel. The newspaper had begun its journey from 1 Ramkrishna Mission Road but the two sons of founder Tofazzal Hossain, popularly known as Manik Miah, fell out over long standing dispute on 2 May.
Jhargram, 25 June : Suspected Maoists have abducted the son of a CPI(M) leader in West Midnapore and demanded the release of a jailed Maoists in order to set him free.
Srimanta Tudu, son of Matilal Tudu, was kidnapped by gunmen from a bus stop on Thursday night in Binpur, party and police sources said. Later, the Maoists telephoned the victim's residence and demanded the release of their "action squad member" Durga Mandi from police custody in return for the younger Tudu's safe release. Mandi was arrested for alleged involvement in several murder cases.
UNB, Chittagong, 25 June : At least five people died and two were injured in a head-on collision between a microbus and a truck at Shitakunda's Magadpukur area, on the Dhaka-Chittagong highway.
The deceased were identified as residents of Comilla's Nangalkot. The accident occurred at around 7am(BDST) on Friday as the passengers of the Comilla-bound microbus were returning home after receiving a relative from Chittagong airport.
Kolkata, 25 June : A group of irate lawyers on Friday vandalised the Chief Justice's court room at the Calcutta High Court here protesting their forcible eviction by the police from a room in the court premises following a dispute over its allotment last night.
"Some lawyers came in and vandalised the court room, breaking glass panes of the door and throwing around furniture," officials at Chief Justice Mohit Shah's court room said. Refuting the allegations, senior counsel Subroto Mukhopadhyay said, "It was just a glass pane that had come off the hinges and not due to any application of force by anyone."
Protesting against last night's police action, the West Bengal Bar Council has called a day-long ceasework at all courts in the state today. The Calcutta High Court Bar Association members held meetings and rallies in and around the court premises condemning the police action. န Photos : Avijit Mondal